How one couple transformed their Etobicoke bungalow into a high-tech smart home

The Super-Smart Home

One couple’s high-tech reno provides a glimpse into the future

By Alex Cyr| Photography by Erin Leydon
| April 19, 2023

Brendan and Devina Samis knew that their dream home didn’t exist—yet. Brendan, a software salesman and avowed techie, imagined a space so futuristic that it would still feel cutting-edge in 50 years. Devina, a manager at a tech company, was on board—so long as their new home didn’t look like a Star Trek set. To get it right, they decided to create it themselves.

In 2020, the couple bought a 1,200-square-foot corner bungalow in Etobicoke for just under $1 million and set aside another million to transform it into a stylish, state-of-the-art smart home. Their vision: a space brimming with ultra-modern tech concealed within sleek, timeless decor. “Neither my wife nor I are designers or builders,” says Brendan. “But we are problem solvers.”

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Some of the home’s high-tech features are quite practical—for example, a closet that’s actually an odourless self-cleaning kitty restroom. Others, like a bookshelf that swings open to reveal a tricked-out VR room, are pure whimsy. And some elements serve both fun and function, such as the house’s universal lighting system, which allows them to control their bulbs and blinds from a central panel.

Related: Seven of Toronto’s most high-tech, sustainable and exciting new residential developments

The renovations took about a year, during which Brendan and Devina also made some comparatively ho-hum additions, like a second storey that cantilevers over a backyard, bringing their home to 3,000 square feet. They moved in during the summer of 2022 and couldn’t be happier. “It wasn’t about just spending money,” says Brendan. “It was about creating a cool home.”

This Etobicoke bungalow is a high-tech smart home
A universal panel controls the entire house’s lights and blinds from one location. “We don’t need to run around the house before we leave to make sure we’ve turned everything off,” says Brendan
This Etobicoke bungalow is a high-tech smart home
The garage is designed to support a four-metre-tall car lift, and a second floor—not yet installed—will add more room for storage
This Etobicoke bungalow is a high-tech smart home
The kitchen island conceals a high-capacity air-return system, which connects directly to the furnace room and regulates air quality and temperature
This Etobicoke bungalow is a high-tech smart home
Pocket-style cabinets typically have space for teeny, 20-inch TVs. This one is double the size thanks to a TV mount that allows it to pivot into the garage behind it
This Etobicoke bungalow is a high-tech smart home
Everything in the house is Alexa activated, including this not-yet-on-the-market three-sided fireplace. “I needed to have it,” says Brendan. “I asked the company that makes it how much it would cost to buy their prototype.” The answer: $15,000
This Etobicoke bungalow is a high-tech smart home
The upstairs closet was transformed into a multi-level restroom for their cats, Loki, Yoda and X. The system is motion activated, triggering a ceiling fan to suck out the smell. Inside are three Litter-Robots, which are self-cleaning and cost about $1,300 each
This Etobicoke bungalow is a high-tech smart home
This bookshelf swings open to reveal the game room
This Etobicoke bungalow is a high-tech smart home
A fingerprint scanner protects the hidden passageway to the game room from unwanted intruders
This Etobicoke bungalow is a high-tech smart home
Inside the secret room are some of Brendan’s most-prized possessions, including a Not-a-­Flamethrower, the fire-shooting rifle created by Elon Musk, and a retro arcade machine that’s PlayStation compatible. Brendan’s favourite: Mortal Kombat 11

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